I know I'll get a lot of crap from some Yankee-hating friends for stating this. But, after three trips (over several years) to the new ballpark in the Bronx, I can safely say that this might currently be the best in-stadium experience in all of baseball.
Okay, don't throw anything.
Of all the new venues in Major League Baseball, Yankee Stadium has gotten the perfect blend of nostalgia and modern day amenities. The Yankees always do history right and there is enough old flashes here to remind you of the old place (and previously the really old place) across the street. By the by, I got to see the former location which also evokes memories. There's a baseball diamond there is pretty close to the original spot where the stadium diamond exists. Part of the old facade adorns the outfield and the big bat still reaches to the sky where that stood. Plus a lot of memorabilia made its way from the old to the new. And it is proudly displayed.
But I knew about this already from previous visits. Compared to Citi Field (which is nice but artificial), Yankee Stadium simply and eloquently continues the storied franchise into new centuries. In Flushing, the Met organization of assholes led by the largest anus of them all, Jeff Wilpon, have tried desperately and unsuccessfully to salute their franchise. As always, the Mets do just enough to fail.
But I digress. On my recent excursion to the Bronx for a Dodger-Yankee contest, I was treated by my host, a long time season ticket holder, to the Audi Stadium Club where you are treated like royalty. My pal seemed to be on a first name basis with the staff. And they were extremely accommodating to all needs. With a marvelous view to boot.
The ballpark's inner guts are well thought out and easy to maneuver through. Elevators stand at the ready for those of us with fractured kneecaps in our bios. The place is clean and all of the game day personnel hold little signs that say "How may I help you?" For Pete's sake, my friend got an in-seat visit from his personalized season ticket representative. He was just checking in to see what he could do. Wow.
Although I had eaten at the Stadium Club, I surveyed the menu fare at the concession stands. It was baseball food taken up a notch or two. Lots of choices ranging from burgers to sausage and peppers to garlic fries. Sure, you've seen it all before. But it just looked fresher to me. There was a lemonade stand where lemons were being squeezed into the best tasting lemonade I have ever had.
Again, I think about Citi Field, which opened in the same year and, while their food offerings are also good, the whole environment gives off the feeling that they are trying too hard. Typical Mets, of course.
This was a glorious night in the Stadium for me with added joy coming from a large contingent of Dodger fans and a win by the visitors.
Indeed, I would say 2/3 of the crowd were rooting for the color blue and you will see in the photo at the top that attendance for this game was not strong. My friend tells me the Yankees have not been drawing well for the second half of this season, despite being on the fringe of a pennant race. Hell, if I still lived in New York, I would be coming here regularly.
And the evening also prompted me to think about my current baseball home 3,000 or so miles away. Okay, Dodger Stadium is beautiful. You cannot argue with the view. The Stadium Club buffet in Los Angeles might just be the best meal in town. And the new ownership has worked hard on adding new features to modernize the 54-year-old ballpark.
But, as I think about it long and hard and fairly, Dodger Stadium food choices do need a major upgrade. Admittedly, there's only so much you can do to a stadium that has lasted over half a century. I am guessing the kitchen facilities need a 2016 HGTV makeover.
Dare I say it? Maybe it's time in Los Angeles for something new and shiny for the ball team.
Because, of the many fun emotions I came away with from my recent trip to Yankee Stadium, the one sensation that prevailed over all was...
Dinner last night: Had a big lunch so just a little ice cream.